History of Medicine
HISTORY as Profession
In the quarter century after World War II, the discipline of the history of medicine underwent dramatic change fueled by the spectacular development of science and science-based industry. A lavishly funded research enterprise attracted widespread public interest and spawned a new field of scholarship: the history of science.
This new professional field exerted a strong influence on the history of medicine and drew renewed attention to the growth of medical science. The more cautious political climate of the 1950s and the proliferation of academic subdisciplines that accompanied the expansion of universities and professional schools also influenced the history of medicine.
When historians of medicine wrote about social or institutional developments during this period, they generally directed their attention to subjects that were not politically controversial. They seemed to cultivate their discipline more for its own sake than to serve the needs of the medical profession or the general public.
A selection of some of the books published in the fifties, sixties and seventies by history of medicine professionals, as the field "took off" with stunning productivity.
Science was often organized in networks connecting universities, industry and the military.
The pharmaceutical industry became "big science" and "big business" during these years, and was a major influence in shaping medicine.
Networks of Innovation: Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharp & Dohme, and Mulford, 1895-1995
New York, 1995
NLM Call Number: 1996 E-252, Cover
Courtesy of Elizabeth Fee
The working historian's principal "tool of the trade."
Courtesy of Theodore Brown
Some working historians...
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 3
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 1
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 2